Friday, November 13, 2009

Lok Satta warns national parties ‘Rein in money power or Face obliteration’

The Lok Satta Party today warned the national parties – the Congress and the BJP – that their very existence would be at stake, leave alone that of democracy in the country, if they did not rein in money power in politics.

Talking to the media, party leaders Y. D. Rama Rao, V. Laxman Balaji, V. Vijayender Reddy and Mrs. K. Gita Murthy said the depredations of the mining lobby should not be viewed as a battle between two companies or two castes or two States but as a challenge to the rule of law and the very political system.

Explaining the Lok Satta Party’s stand on the controversy over iron ore mining by the Obulapuram Mining Company in Anantapur district, the Lok Satta leaders said that those who enriched themselves as State Government clients have now acquired the clout to dictate politics.

“All political parties should transcend their differences and confront the menace of naked money power in our political system. Abnormal money power, acquired through corruption, State patronage and control of natural resources, knows no caste or party. Caste, party and region are merely labels of convenience to such people who depend on politics for making money, and capture parties and political power with money power.”

The Lok Satta Party demanded the following action in respect of the iron ore mining controversy in Andhra Pradesh:

1. There should be a comprehensive survey of the boundaries by Survey of India with the participation of experts of Government of India and the States of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. The GT station destroyed by mining lobbies must be immediately reestablished by Survey of India.

2. The law and rules must be amended forthwith, so that there is competitive bidding for mine licenses. The State must get the lion’s share of the sale revenues of precious natural resources. The first-come-first-served policy whether in allocation of mining licenses or telecom spectrum should be ended and replaced by a system of global competitive bidding.

3. A CBI enquiry should be launched into allegations of corruption and nexus between issue of mining licenses and transfer of equity and profits to kith and kin of powerful politicians. If such a nexus is established, it will be a clear case of corruption as held by courts in the Antulay case.

4. A comprehensive law against corruption as drafted by the Lok Satta should be enacted providing for an independent ACB, independent prosecutors drawn from judiciary and special courts and confiscation of properties,

The Lok Satta leaders supported the junior doctors’ demand for higher stipends considering that their counterparts are paid higher wages in a number of States.

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